Overall, there were very few respondents: only 199 midwives and 277 obstetricians answered the survey, corresponding to 3.6% and 1.2% of all U.S. midwives and obstetricians, respectively. From their answers, about one-third thought that U.S. pregnant women are iodine deficient. However, despite this, about 70% of midwives and obstetricians stated that they rarely recommend that their patients take an iodine supplement, whether in women planning a pregnancy, who are already pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Of those who do recommend iodine supplementation, only 45% would prescribe the recommended level of 150 mcg of iodine daily during pregnancy. Taken together, 75% of U.S. midwives and obstetricians who participated in this survey do not recommend or would recommend an inadequate amount of iodine during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation.
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS STUDY?
Iodine deficiency remains a major public health challenge. This is especially important among women of childbearing age in whom poor iodine status may result in adverse health outcomes for their babies, such as mental retardation and developmental delays. Many major medical societies have recently recommended that women who are thinking of becoming pregnant, who are currently pregnant, or who are breastfeeding take an iodine supplement containing 150 mcg of iodine a day. However, this study suggests that the majority of U.S. midwives and obstetricians do not make these recommendations currently to their patients. Increased education about this important topic is needed to improve the health outcomes of pregnant women and their developing children.
— Angela M. Leung, MD, MSc
ATA THYROID BROCHURE LINKS
Iodine Deficiency: http://www.thyroid.org/ iodine-deficiency
Thyroid and Pregnancy: http://www.thyroid.org/ thyroid-disease-and-pregnancy